Sunday, October 7, 2007
Napoleon and Destiny
Napoleon was one of my earliest childhood heroes. As I became older, I still retained my childhood loyalty to the Emperor but had to admit that, like any leader, he was greatly flawed and made terrible mistakes that affected entire nations. He did create the 'Code Napoleon', a real attempt to bring justice to every human being, whatever his status, and he was a true visionary in philosophical terms, but like most individuals who have grasped enormous power, he inevitably was corrupted by it.
I still believe he is one of the truly extraordinary individuals in the history of the human race. He believed in 'Destiny' of course, both in his career and in his personal life.
It is the young Corporal who touched my heart as a young girl, that rather shy, alienated but completely brilliant young man who, despite his foreign accent and the mockery of his peers, believed in himself and pursued his dreams unconditionally.
When in love, Napoleon wrote:
'As for me, to love you alone, to make you happy, to do nothing which would contradict your wishes, this is my destiny and the meaning of my life.'
He wrote this to a woman whom he loved passionately and deeply, possibly his first love, a woman I never liked because she cuckolded him almost instantly and only began to love him probably when he had become the ruler of France.
He wrote as well: 'I must see her and press her to my heart. I love her to the point of madness, and I cannot continue to be separated from her. If she no longer loved me, I would have nothing left to do on earth.'
Many individuals who are not familiar with Napoleon Bonaparte apart from what is taught in history classes might be surprised to discover his passion and gift for communicating emotions of love. He was intensely romantic but at ths same time, extremely passionate, even graphic in his early love letters to Josephine.
I always believed that her betrayals changed his attitudes somewhat but that his early idealistic love of her was genuine. Of course, that could be wishful thinking on my part!
It is the same Napoleon Bonaparte who wrote many aphorisms that were extremely clever and cynical, with a fine comprehension of the lowest common denominator in the human psyche. Nonetheless, where love was concerned, as a young man he surrendered unconditionally and wholeheartedly to that state of being with the same courage and daring that characterised all his decisions in life. It was only later that politics and other considerations began to dominate his relationships with woman.